Can you trust your child’s nanny?

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Many parents use the services of a nanny to care for their child, instead of sending him to a crèche or daycare. Some find this key employee by making use of a reputable agency, while others go by word of mouth recommendations or advertise privately. The question is, though, how well do you know the person charged with looking after your precious child?

An abduction case in the news recently highlighted the importance of knowing as much as you can about your child’s caregiver: A nanny is alleged to have abducted the toddler in her care, and attempted to extort money from the toddler’s mother.

Of course, this is an unusual case, and the facts surrounding it are not yet fully known, but here are some tips for having a secure employer-employee relationship with your child’s nanny:

•  Find out where she lives: Offer to take her home after the interview, and, should you hire her, occasionally offer to take her home. Not only will she probably appreciate  
   this, as commuting is costly, but you will feel more secure in knowing how to reach her.

•  Have an alternate contact number for her, and make sure she has one for you, in case of emergencies.

•  Pay her fairly, and on time. According to law, you’ll need to provide a contract, and she will need to sign it. This is an agreement which protects both parties in the event
   of a dispute.

•  Ask to see her ID book, and make a copy of it. Should there be legal issues such as theft (or even abduction), you’ll be able to provide more information to the police.

•  An additional expense is a criminal record/background check, but it could help to give you peace of mind about having someone in your home that you can trust. These
   may be obtained using a private detective service.

•  Make sure your child is happy, and also that the nanny enjoys working with your child. If they get on, there will be less tension and a happier home environment.

•  You may even install a “nannycam” or CCTV system, provided you put up a sign stating that you have one in the home. There is vigorous legal debate surrounding the
   employee’s right to privacy and the homeowner’s right to safety.

The best part is that you get to choose the person who will be caring for your child, so don’t jump into making a decision. Do read up about the laws which exist to protect the employer and employee, and make sure that you get to know the person who will be central to your child’s early years. Many families have enjoyed long-term relationships with a nanny, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t too.

How well do you know your child’s nanny?
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